2020 has clearly been a challenging year but it has also opened the door to many new opportunities on the road to decoupling positive economic performance and the use of our natural resources.
So we now wish you a very prosperous new Year and it starts well with numerous initiatives that we are happy to share with you.
Lots of news as usual in the field of critical materials: a very balanced analysis on hydrogen as the potential green energy of the future by Bloomberg, and a complementary analysis by Financial Times on the impact of our decarbonation policies on our needs of critical materials, some very interesting works by the US Critical Materials Institute to develop permanent magnets that will use much less critical materials, BASF and Eramet joint cobalt nickel refining complex in Indonesia and Apple revolutionary design of a « monocell » lithium iron phosphate car battery that would free space inside the battery pack by eliminating modules that hold battery materials
Further on the scientific front with a variety of innovations such as a more efficient perovskite manufacturing process developed at Stanford and a new world record for solar cell at HZB Berlin, heat treatment tested at McGill to improve Lithium Magnesium anodes and battery performance, new silicon based materials with a direct band gap for electronic applications at Eindhoven, a new nanomaterial at Berkeley to obtain hydrogen from a liquid energy carrier at lower cost, iron based catalyst at Oxford to convert CO2 into jet fuel and finally a proposal to measure and control at very small scales the densities of manufactured membranes for a better and lower cost desalination process (Iowa State).
On the sustainability front, we picked 3 examples: the initiative by the EEC to propose a new legislation for batteries, the cooperation between Rio Tinto and Nippon Steel to develop a carbon free steel supply chain and the 250,000 t steel plant under construction by MHI at Voest Alpine in Austria that will use hydrogen instead of coal in the reduction process for iron ore and that will start in 2021.
Finally 11 of our great Start Up Alumni are also in the news this month with awards (Woodoo - France), fundings (UbiQd - USA), international expansion (EH Group - Switzerland, Nawa - France), new applications (Rein4CED - Belgium), new cooperation with major customers (FredSense - Canada, Kebotix - USA) or statutory press coverage (BComp - Belgium, Carbios - France, Cypris Materials - USA, Opus 12 - USA).
As always, we hope that you enjoy the reading.
Victoire de Margerie & Philippe Varin
Bloomberg, December 2nd: Will Hydrogen be the green energy of the future?
New York Post, December 21st: Apple to launch a revolutionary « monocell » lithium iron phosphate car battery design that would free space inside the battery pack by eliminating modules that hold battery materials
SciTechDaily, December 31st: A consortium led by Iowa State University demonstrates that the key to better and lower cost desalination process is to measure and control at very small scales the densities of manufactured membranes
Nikkei Asia, December 28th: MHI finishes the building of a 250,000 t steel plant that will use hydrogen instead of coal in the reduction process for iron ore and that is due to start at VoestAlpine in Austria in 2021